During the Irish Rebellion of 1798, the Battle of Bunclody, or Newtownbarry as it is called at the time, takes place on June 1, 1798 when a force of some 5,000 rebels led by Catholic priest Fr. Mogue Kearns attack the garrison at Bunclody as part of the Wexford rebels campaign against border garrisons.
The garrison is forewarned of the approaching rebels and have prepared defensive outposts facing the rebel line of advance. The rebel army occupies high ground to the west and stations an artillery piece, captured in their victory over the military at the Battle of Three Rocks, facing the approaches to town. As the bulk of the rebel army forms for the attack, their gunners open an accurate fire on the exposed lines of soldiers who retreat into the cover of the town.
Seizing the moment, the rebels quickly move in, forcing the garrison to flee across the bridge into County Carlow but crucially, fail to occupy this approach to the town. The rebels now have an almost bloodless victory and numbers of them began to celebrate, roaming the town in search of plunder and enemies. As rebel discipline begins to waver, trapped units of yeomen, some of whom have barricaded themselves into their own houses, open fire on the unsuspecting rebels milling in the streets outside.
Meanwhile, the garrison has paused in their retreat and, upon hearing the sound of gunfire from the town, turn about and launch a surprise attack back across the bridge, which catches the rebels, distracted by the unexpected pockets of resistance, completely by surprise. In the rout that follows, 400 of the rebels are killed and their army is scattered for the loss of no more than half a dozen of the military.